Essential oils, we all know about their existence and a few basic facts like; they smell good, they come from plants, they can be pricey, they help you relax, and they clear the air better than those store-bought air fresheners. However, there is still a lot that you (and we) may not know about essential oils. Sure, we here at Symmetry use them, sell them, and recommend them, but we also realize there is a lot to know and remember about essential oils and the information can be overwhelming. Just try searching for a book on the subject; you will find that you are bombarded with a wealth of knowledge from all over offering the actual history and how to extract essential oils to their uses and properties or even how to blend them. To help clear our heads and answer our most burning questions, I sat down with Kristy Canaday, manager of business development at our locally owned and operated essential oil partner, Taspen’s Organics.
Thank you so much for answering my questions Kristy. First off, what is an essential oil and how is it different from the source it is derived from?
Essential oil is the natural product extracted from a single plant species. Not all plants produce essential oils. The plants that do, the essential oil is found in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits of the plant.
For example, peppermint essential oil is derived from the stems and leaves of the peppermint plant. The oil is pulled from the plant through steam distillation. Peppermint oil producers expose the plant to high temperature and high-pressure steam. The heat and steam cause the oil to evaporate from the plant. Once the vapor cools, pure oil can be separated out and collected. Pure peppermint oil is so concentrated that it can burn the skin if not mixed with a carrier oil.
Peppermint extract, on the other hand, is a mixture of an essential oil and alcohol to help carry the flavor for baking, etc. It can be made by soaking peppermint leaves and stems in alcohol and allowing the alcohol to absorb oil, thus extracting the flavor from the plant and diluting the actual oil with alcohol.
The advantage of using the essential oil versus the live plant or an extract is that the essential oil is more concentrated and will work faster. It has been studied as an effective treatment for intestinal health and issues.
When used in our No More Aches oils it can bring a cooling effect to the skin and push blood flow to an injured area. When it is ingested it can help with digestive issues, and/or other stomach ailments.
Do not ingest pure peppermint oil without a carrier oil. In our Digest Ease blend, we use a combination of digestive aids, including Organic Peppermint at low dosing.
Some may use the phrase “aromatherapy” instead of “essential oil” and that is just fine. They mean the same thing, although the term, “aromatherapy” may imply that all essential oils smell nice and that isn’t the case. There are many essential oils that have an unpleasant odor but are very invigorating and complementary for the body, mind, and soul.
There are many ways to get the therapeutic effect of essential oils: diffusers, consumption, massage, mixing with a carrier oil, direct application to pressure points, or direct inhalation.
What sets Taspen's Organics essential oils apart from others?
Taspen’s Organics have partnered with Savitur Botanicals as a source for our Essential Oils. The founder of Savitur Botanicals was introduced to the power of Essential Oils in Ayurvedic training. Ayurveda means “the science of life.” In her training, she was invited to different botanical factories and private Essential oil distillations around the world. Savitur Botanicals found there is a vast difference in the oils from overseas, versus oils produced in the USA. The sources overseas are committed to the global pharmacology, she could see, smell and feel the difference in their products. Savitur Botanicals is a company who supports small, fair trade, organic, co-op farms that produce high-quality products. The phrase, Tat Savitur Varenyum means the “Truth of God’s Wisdom.” The “light of the sun is the energy of Savitur.” Thus the name Savitur Botanicals.
Savitur Botanicals' Mission Statement: Connecting the ancient wisdom of an organic, bio-certified, and sustainably sourced essential oil and its many uses to empower one’s own health. Supporting eco-conscious family farms, distilling in small artisan batches, assuring the innate plant intelligence is maintained. Creating global relationships with high ethical standards.
Savitur Botanicals is part of a European group of biodynamically certified growers. This co-op is committed to the integrity of the soil and the end result of the purest essential oils available. Savitur Botanicals continues to import oils from where they grow naturally including Bulgaria, Somalia, Australia, Corsica, Sri Lanka, India, and many more. Savitur Botanicals supports non-profits like the Wellness Warrior Foundation, whose commitment level of service has led them to Africa to deliver and educate on the daily health benefits of essential oils. All essential oils from Savitur Botanicals are organic, bio-dynamic, responsibly harvested, and sustainably sourced.
Why are blends so important?
Each blend will create a different effect in the body and mind. The combination of certain essential oils will help the body in specific ways. Blends are created for either aromatic purposes or therapeutic purposes. Our blends do both so you receive the therapeutic benefits while also enjoying the scent.
Can you tell us a bit about the blends we use at Symmetry and why that particular blend of oils was chosen?
The Zen Blend uses organic therapeutic grade essential oils of: frankincense, lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, chamomile, and sandalwood.
Ylang Ylang lifts the mood through neurotransmitters while having a calming effect and supports connection and healing through the heart.
Bergamot is a powerful mood stabilizer.
Frankincense induces feelings of mental peace, relaxation, and contentment.
The Headache Relief oil uses a combination of olive oil infused with specific anti-inflammatory herbs and the following essential oils: peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, clary sage, and red thyme.
The peppermint offers a push of blood flow and cooling effect.
Eucalyptus oil can treat muscle and joint ailments along with bruising, backache, and tension in neck and shoulders.
Lavender oil is believed to have ache relieving properties. It can be used to help relieve head pain, tooth pain, and sores, along with improved healthy hair growth.
Clary Sage has been used for improved digestion, stress relief, and improved circulation.
Red Thyme can help with fatigue, mood sensitivities, memory loss, and can help with bronchial issues.
The Breath Easy Oil uses a combination of organic sunflower oil, ravintsara essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and peppermint oil.
Ravintsara is used for supporting the immune system, successfully used to repel fungal and viral attacks on the body. Can help treat consistent cough, bronchial, and respiratory problems as well as influenza, shingles, and calms the nerves.
Eucalyptus oil can be used to not only relieve coughing, but can also help get the mucus out of your chest. It is used to prevent infection due to its anti-inflammatory properties it can be used to help respiratory issues, reduce areas of injury.
Peppermint oil has been used to help with respiratory issues.
What is the difference between an oil blend and a tincture?
In a nutshell, an adaptogen tincture is an herbal remedy that is made for internal use while essential oils are mostly used for external usage. Adaptogen tinctures help balance and restore the body. Some will help calm the body and soothe the adrenals, while others stimulate the body and enhance mental performance. Adaptogen tinctures adapt to the body’s specific needs and can support the body’s natural circadian rhythm and can easily fit into your daily routine along with your other natural supplements.
6) What is the difference between the No More Aches cream, which uses peppermint to cool and arnica to help with pain and inflammation, and the No More Aches plus Cayenne that has a warming sensation?
The only difference between these two products is the addition of cayenne, ginger root, and the essential oils of black pepper, peppermint, clove, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Wow, I have learned so much about the health benefits of essential oils. I also came away from my talk with Kristy with a few key takeaways. Essential oils are beneficial because they enter your system faster than consuming their parent plant would. Remember to never use essential oils either topically or orally without a carrier oil; this could prove dangerous to your health. The main thing to keep in mind about essential oils is that purity and origin do make a difference. Of course you can get a $3 bottle of lavender essential oil at a grocery store, but it won’t be pure and it may have a mixture of many different sources of lavender. Spending the extra few dollars for a certified pure oil will not only make it last longer, but will increase the benefits of the product as it is less likely to contain alcohol or multiple sources. Blending oils can offer multiple benefits from all of the oils contained within. Not every oil is pleasant, but they are all beneficial. To learn more about the essential oil products we offer, come visit us for an aromatherapy session or try our fire and ice treatment.